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Fort McMurray fire reaches into Saskatchewan

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The fire is Fort McMurray has now moved over the border into Saskatchewan. Now measuring over 505 645 hectares, Alberta Wildfire Manager Chad Morrison says the threat has diminished near oil sands facilities and the community of Fort McMurray. He adds that the fire is now stretching into Saskatchewan burning around 700 hectares.

“We continue to make great progress with all of the efforts of the firefighters working there. Obviously, the spread right now is off in remote forested areas off to the east. There is some really good natural barriers there. We are working hard with Saskatchewan and our firefighters as it continues to grow.”

The province is closing down the cash card distribution centres tomorrow at noon but the funds will be available for people in need at Alberta Works offices next week.

The province has set that date for people living in the least affected areas to start returning. This will be on a voluntary basis as well as based on safety and will be done in phases starting June 1st.

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Executive Director of Alberta Emergency Management Agency Scott Long says when residents start to come into communities, there will be welcoming centres set up in each neighbourhood.

“I know as part of the re-entry planning is debris management, traffic control plans, access plans, welcoming plans and ATCO is going to link up with residents once they come in to go in and do the safety checks.”

Municipal Affairs Minister Danielle Larivee says there will be support in the community as well.

“I think it is important to state very clearly that Fort McMurray residents going home, whether their home is intact or not, are not going to be left on their own once they come into the community. We will make sure they have the information and the resources to deal with what they are faced with.”

Air quality in Fort McMurray was sitting at a 3 Thursday morning but is expected to fluctuate to be closer to 10 later in the afternoon. The day before was sitting at 51.

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